So much of our work is made up of trying to repair the harm done to our young peoples' sense of self-worth by rejection. In profound ways they have been told that their sexual identities and gender orientations render them of lesser worth and value. Allowing us to celebrate their births, their presence in the world, will be an immensely important tool for us to show they are valued and loved.
Carl Siciliano, Executive Director, The Ali Forney Center
It is with an oxymoronic combination of humility and audacity that I have asked you to consider supporting Project Birthday at the Ali Forney Center in honor of my birthday.
Turning 50 has never freaked me out, but letting the moment pass without owning it did. Considering all the people in need in our city, I wanted to find a way to help those who are often invisible to many of us. The work of the Ali Forney Center, a community organization providing housing, programs and services for homeless LGBTQ youth, is vital to the lives of so many kids. The launch of Project Birthday enables my own birthday celebration to raise the funds needed to give birthday recognition to others who would not otherwise be able to do so. I am hoping that celebrating my 50th birthday will in turn provide birthday celebrations for hundreds of our city’s homeless LGBTQ youth.
There are approximately 3800 homeless youth on the streets of NYC tonight. 1600 of them identify as LGBTQ. It is this population The Ali Forney Center serves. More than 80% of these kids are kicked out of their homes for being who they are. Many after unfathomable parental abuse. The Ali Forney Center provides mobile outreach programs that reach these kids in the alleyways and hidden places they live on the streets; emergency housing, food, and medical care including preventative treatments for HIV and hormone therapies; clothing, a place to do laundry and shower; mental health services; long-term transitional housing; and more.
Project Birthday—launching in February 2018 after years of desire but a lack of funding—will provide each of these young people the opportunity to celebrate their birthday in a loving, supportive, LGBTQ-Positive environment. Recognizing that birthdays will mean something different to each of these unique individuals, some celebrations will happen in private with a caseworker while others will happen in location based monthly-group celebrations. Regardless of the fanfare and size of the celebration, each client will receive a cake, a card, a gift, and—most importantly—a chance to remind them that they are truly worthy of recognition and celebration.
I am committed to raising the $90,600 it will cost to maintain this program for two years at which time it is my hope that the program will have had the chance to gain its footing and attract a more substantial patron. I am asking you to please consider committing to any amount you can before my party on the 15th. The donation can be made at once or over the course of the first two years of the program and, of course, any donation you can make will be so very appreciated. Alex Roque at AFC can answer any questions you have and send you a tax id#, mailing address, and anything else you might want to consider. He can be reached at email@example.com.
One of my life’s greatest joys are the friends I have made and I am honored to count you among them and to feel brave enough to ask you for something so substantial.
$3775 for a month of birthdays including 7 celebrations and 117 gifts
$2925 for a month of gifts
$1250 for fifty gifts
$850 for a month of celebrations
$250 for ten gifts
$125 for five gifts
$25 for an individual gift